Welcome! I’m Nadia and I’m originally from Montreal and currently living in Laval, Quebec. I am the daughter of Sicilian-Italian immigrants who came to Canada in the 1950s. My first food related memory is that of my maternal grandmother visiting from Sicily when I was about three years old. Apparently I did not have much of an appetite back then (that has certainly changed) and she would constantly encourage me to eat by saying “mangia bedda”. “Mangia bedda” means “eat beautiful” in Sicilian. This term of endearment has stuck with me throughout my whole life and has been a great source of inspiration throughout this food journey.
I’m a self-taught cook inspired by my mother whom I observed making homemade bread and pizza, rolling out fresh pasta dough, canning tomatoes and preserving vegetables picked from our garden, which was mainly my father’s domain. Thanks to her, gnocchi and arancini are my favorite foods in the world. This obsession with gnocchi and arancini are kind of obvious in my blog! My father turned most of our backyard into a vegetable garden which I was not happy about at the time as it limited my play space. He was so proud of his garden and would ask me to take pictures of him alongside his six foot squash. Today I maintain my own garden, although much smaller than his.
I started this blog in 2015 with the intent of documenting my family’s traditional Sicilian-Italian recipes in order to preserve them and pass them on to future generations. Currently, most of the recipes that I intend to document are written in my mother’s illegible script in a small, black, tattered calendar from 1956! How many of you have experienced asking an elderly person how much flour is necessary for a cake only to be told “as much as needed.” Well, I am doing the legwork for everyone and will share in this blog exactly how much flour is needed!
Most of the recipes originated in Sicily, but I have learned that many have been modified throughout the years and some were actually picked up here in Canada by relatives or friends. But the blog has become so much more. I’m proud to say my children are passionate about cooking as well and now they roll the gnocchi by my side. My daughter enjoys baking and my son is an adventurous cook and their influence and presence can be seen throughout the blog. Luckily, my wonderful husband has always been a willing enabler and encouragingly samples anything we make! My little family has now developed its own cooking traditions, and I’ve decided to share some of those with you as well.
Whatever I do cook, the emphasis is always on healthy, made from scratch family meals without the presence of processed foods. As much as possible I forbid processed foods from entering my home. Except, of course, for the occasional bag of chips! Those of you who know me are aware of my weakness for chips.
I have recently decided to get out of my kitchen and offer cooking classes so I can share my love of gnocchi and arancini with each of you in person! My upcoming classes are listed here. This would be a great opportunity to meet you!
Join me as I undertake a new adventure with my Sicilian Culinary Vacation. We’ll travel to the land of my ancestors together and cook all the wonderful Sicilian recipes you’ve always wanted to make with fresh, local ingredients. Register here!
I have taken it a step further and am now offering catering services. So for those of you who don’t have time to cook and want to be able to provide your family with home cooked meals, check out my catering menu.
Thanks for stopping by and don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any comments, questions, specific requests or simply to say hello! If you cook any of my recipes please don’t forget to post a photo on Instagram or Facebook and tag me with #mangiabedda !
Check out some of my most popular posts:
Crispeddi cu brocculu (Cauliflower Fritters)
….and don’t forget to check out my gnocchi making video that appeared in La Presse on October 8, 2015.